LEGAL TERMS & DEFINITIONS

Listed below are important legal words regularly used in our field of work. We have included definitions which can be revealed by clicking on the words.

Legal Terms & Definitions

Caveat

A warning to the public that the owner of this land (the caveatee) by claims an interest in the land.

Certificate of Title

The document prepared by the Lands Titles Office showing details of a property registered under the Real Property Act 1886 such as the owners and the encumbrances affecting the property.

Chattels

Any property that is not freehold land. "Real chattels" are building and fixtures. "Personal chattels" are furniture and clothing.

Cooling off Period

A period of two days for the purchase of land and five days for the purchase of a business in which the purchaser can change their mind to proceed with the purchase, (Business days).

Conveyancing

The transfer of property ownership from one party to another including the documentation of Mortgages and other Real Property Act documents. This includes effecting the settlement and associated processes.

Covenant

An agreement between two or more people which creates an obligation to do something or refrain from doing something. An example of a restrictive covenant is a requirement registered on the certificate of title that there should only be one dwelling and that it should be of brick construction with a tiled roof.

Easement

A right held by one person to make use of the land of another such as Electricity Companies or SA Water.

Encroachment

A fixture which occupies land in an inappropriate location, usually a fence or a building constructed partially over a boundary.

Encumbrance

The right of any third party over the property such as the right resulting from an easement, restrictive covenant, mortgage, etc.

Executor

Person named in a will as the person to finalise the business and personal matters of a deceased person.

Equity

The difference between the property value and the sum borrowed.

Fixtures

Items which because of the extent of their annexation to the dwelling are considered to be part of the dwelling.

Joint Tenants

A form of joint ownership of property in which each person owns an undivided equal share in the whole of the property. On the death of one owner his or her interest passes automatically to the surviving owner(s).

Late Settlement Interest

Interest as required by a contractual term usually relating to a party’s default.

Maintenance Fund

A Bank Account held in the name of a Strata or Community Corporation used for the provision of everyday running expenses.

Mortgage

A loan provided to the borrower of monies on the security of a property. The lender of the money is called the mortgagee. The borrower is called the mortgagor.

Power of Attorney

A written document in which one person authorises another to act on behalf of another in some circumstances.

Probate

A legal process of proving the validity of a will. A grant of Probate is a court approval that an executor or executrix is appointed to administer and carry out the wishes of the person who made the will.

Right of Way

The right to pass over another’s land.

Settlement

The final stage of the conveyancing process when monies are paid in exchange for the title documents and the right to occupy the property purchased.

Statutory Searches

Government Searches required to sell or purchase a property. The importance of carrying out these searches in your own name cannot be underestimated.

Sinking Fund

Usually, an account held at a Bank in the name of a Strata or a Community corporation for the purposes usually.

Tenants In Common

A form of joint ownership of property in which each person owns a defined or definite share in the whole property. On the death of one owner his or her interest passes to his or her heirs and or beneficiaries as set out in the will, who then become tenants in common with the surviving co-owners(s).

Torrens Title

Common term used to refer to form a land holding as defined in the Real Property Act 1886.

Vacant Possession

Taking ownership of a property with the previous occupier having fully removed themselves and their belongings.

Vendor

The seller.

Vendors Statement (Form 1)

Statement provided by the seller giving information about the property being sold such as its zoning, the rates, whether there are any easements or covenants affecting the property, the services connected to the property, building approvals granted and notices served in a prescribed Statutory Format called a Form 1.

Zoning

Usually an area called a Zone set by the Local Council with government approval indicating the permitted use of the land within that area

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